Death Washes Ashore
Patricia Skalka University of Wisconsin Press, 2021 Library of Congress PS3619.K34D435 2021 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
In the wake of a brutal storm that lashed the Door County peninsula, Sheriff Dave Cubiak assesses the damage: broken windows, downed trees, and piles of mysterious debris along the shoreline. He leaves the comfort of his home and heads out into the aftermath, checking in with folks along the way to offer help. His assistant, marooned at the justice center overnight, calls with an ominous message about a body discovered on the beach. When the medical examiner discovers the man didn’t simply drown during the storm, Cubiak searches for answers.
Chasing leads, the sheriff learns the victim directed a troupe of live-action role players living in an ersatz Camelot. In a setting where pretense in the norm, Cubiak must determine if suspects are who they say they are or if their made-up identities conceal a ruthless killer. As tensions escalate among neighbors unhappy about the noise and commotion, the sheriff discovers that more than one person on the peninsula has a motive for murder.
A picturesque peninsula with 298 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, state parks, forests, and cozy inns, Door County is one of the Midwest’s prime tourist attractions. Magill Weber explores the many recreational opportunities available to visitors, including secret spots known only to locals and longtime seasonal residents. Wisconsin native Janet Mrazek contributes 125 detailed and easy-to-follow maps. With suggestions of more than 150 scenic hikes, biking and paddling routes, end-of-the-road beaches, lighthouses, and wildlife-watching sites, and descriptions of the local flora and fauna, Door County Outdoors is the ultimate guide for active travelers and nature enthusiasts.
This book recounts the history of an experimental regional library service in the early 1950s, a story that has implications far beyond the two Wisconsin counties where it took place. Using interviews and library records, Christine Pawley reveals the choices of ordinary individual readers, showing how local cultures of reading interacted with formal institutions to implement an official literacy policy.
Central to the experiment were well-stocked bookmobiles that brought books to rural districts and the one-room schools that dotted the region. Three years after the project began, state officials and local librarians judged it an overwhelming success. Library circulation figures soared to two-and-a-half times their previous level. Over 90 percent of grade-school children in the rural schools used the bookmobile service, and their reading scores improved beyond expectation.
Despite these successes, however, local communities displayed deeply divided reactions. Some welcomed the book-mobiles and new library services wholeheartedly, valuing print and reading as essential to the exercise of democracy, and keen to widen educational opportunities for children growing up on hardscrabble farms where books and magazines were rare. Others feared the intrusion of govern- ment into their homes and communities, resented the tax increases that library services entailed, and complained about the subversive or immoral nature of some books.
Analyzing the history of tensions between various community groups, Pawley delineates the long-standing antagonisms arising from class, gender, and ethnic differences which contributed to a suspicion of official projects to expand education. Relating a seemingly small story of library policy, she teases out the complex interaction of reading, locality, and cultural difference. In so doing, she illuminates broader questions regarding libraries, literacy, and citizenship, reaching back to the nineteenth century and forward to the present day.